Date: c. 1920s
Origin: United States
Brand: Custom made
This deeply luxurious example of a step in teddy acts as a canvas for exquisite hand crafted embellishment. The silk crepe base has a relatively simple cut: a boxy, straight cut body gathered under the bust, pointed hem with side leg split, and a fitted gusset. The simplicity of shape contrasts greatly with the elaborate embellishment and trims.
Both the neck and leg lines are trimmed with different varieties of handworked filet lace. There is a third design of filet lace used to vertically trim the centre bust panel, also handworked with a double scallop. The centre panel features a machine made lace in the style of Point de Gaze, a type of handmade bobbin lace. This machine made variety is created with a machine embroidery on top of a machine made lace. The circular motifs within this design are potentially a separate chemical lace that has been worked into the body of the design later.
The centre front panel is further embellished with lavish, hand sewn silk ribbonwork. Silk ribbons are used to create rosettes and swirling motifs across the bustline, with wrapped silk thread offering further textural interest and contrast of colour. There are four small rows of drawn thread work embroidery under the bustline, and each legline split is embellished with a yellow satin bow.
The original silk shoulder straps of this step-in had sadly disintegrated, and were later replaced with contemporary silk ribbon in the same style and placement.
With thanks to Gail Baxter for help in identifying the different varieties of lace in this piece.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska